#499 – Andy Smithson #2: The Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning By L. R. W. Lee

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Andy Smithson, #2: Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning

By L. R. W. Lee

CreateSpace    1/10/2014


Age 8 to 12 +   242 pages



“Eleven-year-old Andy Smithson returns to Oomaldee to retrieve the second ingredient needed to break a 500-year-old curse. But Imogenia’s spirit, bent on thwarting Andy to preserve the curse, is now in league with the evil, scheming Abbadon. Things go from bad to worse when a creature Abbadon conjures from the darkest magic steals the Stone of Athanasia, the source of Hercalon V’s immortality, causing the king and his wizard Mermin to fall gravely ill. Andy must now not only locate the second ingredient, but also retrieve the stone. Will he make it in time to save the King?”


“Andy woke himself hollering, “No! No!” He breathes hard, as if he had just finished crawling fifty laps around the track in gym class.”

The Story

Eleven-year-old Andy had a huge adventure in the Kingdom of Oomaldee nearly nine months ago and had not heard a word from the medieval kingdom. Then Sir Gawain rides up on Alexander to deliver Andy a letter that had arrived at the castle. The ancient pair also tore up both the front and back yards, which would land Andy in big trouble with his dad. But one cannot expect anything less from two stone statues when they run around your yards, dragging stone bases with them. Soon after Andy returned to Oomaldee and his quest to find the items that would free the medieval kingdom from the curse laid upon it.

The curse has the Kingdom of Oomaldee shrouded under a blanket of fog, and its king, King Hercalon V, doomed to live forever—currently, he is 500-years old. It is all because of a curse from the King’s dead sister Imogenia. In Book 1, Andy began searching for the items needed to break the curse. In book 2, he returns to continue his quest. Only now, Andy must find the second item and the stone stolen by the seven-headed dragon. This stone gives the king immortality. Both he and his wizard, Mermin, are gravely ill without a cure. Only the stone can set the two back to health, if Andy and Alden can find it.

In addition to fighting the evil Abbadon—who will be more prepared this time—Andy faces the vulture men. Many now serve the King at Oomaldee, including Razen, who is now serving as the King’s advisor. Can Razen be trusted or has the king been a fool to trust the vulture? Andy and Alden leave for their dangerous mission. Can they defeat Abbadon again and the 7-headed dragon, bringing home secret item number two and the immortality stone, saving the king and his wizard?


Much happened in book 1, but the author gives the reader enough back story that book 2 could be read as a stand-alone. Even though, I think the reader misses too much when reading this series out of order. Andy Smithson is a series of seven books, which is a lot of interconnected story to remember. Reading out of order would be hazardous to the plot. Plus, the series is about two stories: Andy at Oomaldee and Andy at home.

I like that book 2 begins with Andy at home, showing his parents showering him with attention, attention that Andy never received in the past. Now big sister Madison is the jealous one, but this does not change her attitude toward Andy. On a birthday party-trip for Madison, Andy slips back to Oomaldee. Lucky for him, time nearly stops back at home. Many of the same characters are in book 2, though not all have the same role. Now the nefarious vultures work at the castle. The worst is now the king’s advisor, which is a rather odd move, or the king is keeping his friends close and his enemies closer.

New in book 2 is a kingdom game called Oscray, which involves a large egg, advancing a ball towards it, and stopping your opponent from doing this. Oscray is nothing like the game in Harry Potter, but the same community atmosphere prevails. The team opposing Andy’s team is hell-bent on beating Andy into the ground. This violence is with vividly described, but not overly horrid that middle graders would have nightmares. The other big development is the origin of the curse. Andy learns the cause of the curse, which happens to be his beloved King Hercalon V, whom Andy holds upon a high pedestal. Andy must find a way to accept this information and still love the man he trusts and loves.

Andy Smithson: The Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning does have a few blemishes. One involves a bit of backstory. A while ago, the Wizard Merlin—Mermin’s brother—sent the king’s wife into Andy’s world. Merlin was to retrieve the Queen but he never returned. King Hercalon V tells Andy,

“Only he (Merlin) knew how to access our world, and only he could bring her back (to Oomaldee).” The King continues, “I always assumed he (Merlin) dies in the process since he’s never been seen or heard from again.”

If this is true, then how does Mermin send Sir Gawain and Alexander into Andy’s world to deliver a letter to Andy or transport Andy back and forth?

The other question involves the curse of immortality and the stone that keeps the king; and Andy’s suggestion that the king is his grandfather. Rather than more inference, I will let the readers decide for themselves. I will say that Andy Smithson: The Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning will be enjoyed by kids 10 and up. That is not to rule out younger kids. Some kids progress faster than others do. Parents need to be the judge. I hope the books return to a level enjoyable by all kids 8 to 10.

For those that like messages or lessons in kid’s stories, there are definite lessons Andy needs to learn. In The Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning, the Serenity Prayer comes to mind. Andy is to accept the things he cannot change, and to change the things he can. He learns vengeance is not his to take, but rather he is to offer forgiveness. Andy still has a lot to learn in the books to come. I hope he does not continue aging a year with each book. A sixteen-year-old protagonist is a bit old for middle grade.

With all that said, kids will have trouble putting The Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning down until the last page is read. L. R. W. Lee has constructed a wonderful world full of adventure, daring deeds, and remarkable action tempered with the right dose of humor. This wildly addictive series will entertain middle grade students, who, like I, will anxiously await the release of book three.


Learn more about the Andy Smithson series HERE.

Buy The Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning or Blast of the Dragon’s Fury at AmazonB&NAuthor Websiteask your local bookstore.


Learn more about the author, L. R. W. Lee:    website    facebook    twitter     goodreads      linkedin     G+

Learn more about CreateSpace:      website      facebook       twitter


ANDY SMITHSON, #2: THE VENOM OF THE SERPENT’S CUNNING. Text copyright © 2014 by L. R. W Lee.


andy smithson 1



Andy Smithson, #1: Blast of the Dragon’s Fury


.andy smithson 2


20 thoughts on “#499 – Andy Smithson #2: The Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning By L. R. W. Lee

  1. Doomed, curses, evil, magic, kingdoms and knight–all the makings of an interesting story. And a lesson to be learned: Andy is to accept the things he cannot change, and to change the things he can. Sounds like a great book to me.


  2. I can’t help myself—-I’m SUCH a sucker for beautiful covers, and if the title’s good, I’m picking it up off the shelf. I’d pick this one up! I find the names of the characters really appealing, too 🙂 Really nice job on the trailer, too!


    • Thanks so much! I had lots of fun writing the first two books and I have to say, book 3 that I’m writing currently gets even better :). The characters are running away with the plot and boy do they know what to do!! I’m just trying to write it all down fast enough, before they move on to the next scene!


    • Hi, Stranger! Feeling better? Boy, the flu sure got you good. While you had the flu, some really cool bookmakers for reading several books at once came my way. Just awesome stuff. Well, I am glad you like the cover because this is one cover that you can tell a story by . . . good cover = good book. Glad to “see” you again.:)


      • Hi, Sue 😀 Nope, not better yet! Wish I was! Turns out, after a chest x-ray, that I have bronchitis. Doc said he thinks I’m getting over it, but I can tell you, I’m not! It’s doing a number on me still sigh After shoveling snow for a couple of hours (necessary, sick or not, and not good for me), I came in and did a bunch of stuff I had to do, then decided to give myself a break and check up on some of my cherished blogs, so here I am 🙂


        • I had bronchitis a week or so ago. My doctor gave me a shot of prednisone and a short antibiotic (zithro for 4 days) and it was gone in a week, better in a couple of days. Steroids are always a last resort for me but it worked. I was sick for a couple of weeks before that. 🙂


          • Hmmm…I’ve never taken a steroid and he didn’t want to give me an antibiotic (not that I really want to take one ’cause of what they do to me). He said it just requires time, a lot of fluids, some steam and rest. I’m pretty sure this started with the flu and became bronchitis, so it’s probably viral. I’m giving it the time he said I should, only because he told me it’s not pneumonia. That’s why I wanted the x-ray—-to be more sure about it. We’ll see what happens. I’m glad you got better! 😀


            • I had a chest cold for weeks and then it went to bronchitis. Two weeks later went to doctor and he gave me a shot of prednisone, not pills. That is what really cleared it up. And it did in two days. I hate prednisone, it caused a huge weight gain I cannot get off when took it for lupus, so I am very precautious in when I will allow it, but the bronchitis was really a mess. Now, did you like this book? Book 2 of the Andy Smithson series? I think that is what I wrote about. See bronchitis messes up my memory, too. 🙂 ? lol


    • happier dance You beat me but not the last TWO times! 🙂 I agree, it is a great review, I mean, I agree, Ms. Lee does have a good writing style. It captures the reader right away . . . just like this review. “Nyah, nyah, na, nyah, nyah!” 😆


    • I forgot, young Erik. How dare you use markdowns here and not enable them at your site. My ** meant nothing over there. I wrote * is * and it looks like I have no idea how to write is. Thanks a lot stinker. Oh, that will be soon. Little Stinker, in your honor. 😀


  3. Sue, thanks so much for hosting a stop on my book launch tour with your review of Andy Smithson: Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning. I’m thrilled you enjoyed the book! I’d love to hear from any of your followers with any questions about me or the books. Bring it on 🙂


    • You are welcome. I enjoyed the book and think you have a wonderful grasp of what kids like and a wonderful way of writing for them. I am sorry the comment numbers are low. I do have hundreds of readers, just not many who like to comment. Many read a load of sites and do not have the time to write at every site. Still, I had hoped there would have been more. Good luck with the entire series.


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